La Tarcoteca

La Tarcoteca

viernes, 13 de julio de 2018

International Solidarity with Indonesian Libertarian Comrades Imprisoned for Fight Against a Mega-airport Death Project!


Indonesia:
“Prison is a milestone in the revolutionaries’ path towards freedom. It’s an intermediary stop, but not the end” – Conspiracy of Cells of Fire
On the 1st May 2018, Yogyakarta, dozens of anarchist were arrested during a furious riot against the Sultan and NYIA mega-airport projectt which threaten the Kulonprogo coastal community. 11 anarchist remain imprisoned for the fight with the police and the thugs of the Sultan. Comrade Ucil is charged with molotov attacks on cops bikes. The Indonesian state has used this moment to repress anarchist movement on the Archipelago and some comrades are in hiding or under investigation. Let’s light the spark of revolutionary solidarity and ignite the black international. Fire to Corporations, Investors, Tourists , and Banks operation in Indonesia.
“Unfortunately the dream we carry in our hearts is too great to avoid the risk of finding ourselves up against the monstrous wall of authority raised in defense of the state and capital” – Nicola Gai

domingo, 24 de junio de 2018

The American Gulag: US Navy Planning to Build Military Camps to Jail 120,000 Immigrants

Source - The American Gulag: US Navy Planning to Build Military Camps to Jail 120,000 Immigrants | Global Research  by Alec Andersen, June 23, 2018 World Socialist Web Site

A draft memo leaked to Time magazine Friday reveals preparations by the United States Navy to build sprawling internment camps to house over 120,000 undocumented immigrants. Massive camps housing nearly 50,000 each are being proposed in Northern and Southern California, close to the country’s largest immigration populations, with an initial 25,000 to be housed on military bases in Alabama.
The capacity of the new facilities would match the total number of Japanese and Japanese-Americans detained during World War Two. This follows a separate Department of Defense announcement Thursday that the military will erect detention camps on four Army bases in Texas and Arkansas that will hold another 20,000 migrant children.
The establishment of military prison camps on American soil marks an ominous milestone in US history. These are being erected to detain not only immigrants, but also striking workers, protesters against police violence, and all who resist conditions of deepening exploitation, war and dictatorship. This police state policy is aimed at the entire working class.
Indicative of the complicity of the corporate media in these dictatorial moves, neither NBC, ABC nor CBS mentioned the proposal for the Navy to set up concentration camps on their Friday evening news broadcasts.
The internal memo details plans to construct “temporary and austere” tent camps to house 25,000 undocumented migrants immediately, with massive facilities to come later. Under the proposal, 25,000 beds would be built within weeks at two Navy airfields near Mobile, Alabama—Navy Outlying Field Wolf in Orange Beach and Navy Outlying Field Silverhill—at an estimated cost of $233 million for six months of operation.
Navy officials suggest a timeline of 60 days to complete the first stage of tent construction, which would hold 5,000 detainees. After that, capacity could be expanded at a rate of 10,000 beds per month.
The document also proposes construction of two internment camps in California that would each house up to 47,000 detained immigrants. One would be located on the former site of Naval Weapons Station Concord, near San Francisco, and the other would be built at Camp Pendleton, the nation’s largest Marine Corps base on the coast of California between San Diego and Los Angeles.
The memo also calls for further study of a proposal to detain an unspecified number of undocumented workers at the Marine Corps Air Station outside of Yuma, Arizona.
The document, drafted by Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment Phyllis Bayer for signature by Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, was circulated in anticipation of the influx of detained migrant families under the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy.
Under this policy, announced in April, all undocumented migrants captured by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will be detained and tried for the so-called crime of “illegal entry.”
These revelations underscore the fact that Trump’s reversal on separating families does not signify a shift away from his drive to criminalize immigrants and arrest, detain and deport them in the hundreds of thousands. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday calls for indefinite detention of immigrants, including children.
The release of detailed plans for the construction of military detention centers throughout the western and southern states, with the capacity to detain massive numbers of undocumented workers fleeing the violence and economic devastation that American imperialism has produced in Central America, represents a new stage in the ruling class’s turn toward authoritarian rule.
This confirms the warnings made by the World Socialist Web Site at the time of the 9/11 attacks and launching of the “war on terror” that the concentration camp at Guantanamo was a prelude to similar facilities and mass repression within the borders of the United States itself.
Such plans have ample precedent in the recent history of the United States. At the height of the 1986-1987 Iran-Contra affair, which was itself an illegal and unconstitutional conspiracy of the Reagan White House and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a secret plan, known as Operation Rex 84, was exposed. Rex 84 was a program to suspend the Constitution, declare martial law, establish a parallel government comprised of military-intelligence officials, and round up political opponents in the event of a US war on Nicaragua.
At a July 13, 1987 hearing of a joint congressional committee investigating the Iran-Contra affair, Texas Democratic Congressman Jack Brooks sought to question Oliver North, who was at the center of the conspiracy, about Rex 84, which North had been involved in drafting. The exchange that followed is a telling illustration of the Democratic Party’s role in covering up the secret preparations of the US government and its military-intelligence apparatus for mass repression and dictatorship.
BROOKS: Colonel North, in your work at the NSC [National Security Council], were you not assigned, at one time, to work on plans for the continuity of government in the event of a major disaster?
BRENDAN V. SULLIVAN, counsel for Colonel North: Mr. Chairman?
SENATOR DANIEL K. INOUYE, Democrat of Hawaii: I believe that question touches upon a highly sensitive and classified area, so may I request that you not touch upon that.
BROOKS: I was particularly concerned, Mr. Chairman, because I read in Miami papers, and several others, that there had been a plan developed, by that same agency, a contingency plan in the event of emergency, that would suspend the American Constitution. And I was deeply concerned about it and wondered if that was the area in which he had worked. I believe that it was and I wanted to get his confirmation.
INOUYE: May I most respectfully request that that matter not be touched upon, at this stage. If we wish to get into this, I’m certain arrangements can be made for an executive session.
The administration’s escalation of repression against immigrant workers in recent days has been accompanied by a series of fascistic rants by Trump seeking to whip up the most backward and reactionary social and political layers in order to justify even broader attacks on democratic rights.
At a Wednesday rally in Minnesota, Trump blustered that the United States faced being “overrun” by immigrants and that his administration was “sending them the hell back.”
In a Friday morning tweet, Trump wrote:
“We must maintain a Strong Southern Border. We cannot allow our Country to be overrun by illegal immigrants as the Democrats tell their phony stories of sadness and grief, hoping it will help them in the elections.”
The Democrats have offered no opposition to the construction of military prison camps for immigrant families. On the contrary, they have consistently supported raising funding for “border security” and increasing the number of ICE and CBP agents, while peddling the false and reactionary narrative that immigrant workers endanger the jobs and depress the wages of the native-born work force.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer noted the report of the plan to detain 20,000 immigrants on Army bases, but merely expressed concerns over whether the plan was “feasible”. On Twitter Thursday, Schumer denounced the notion that Democrats were for open borders.
“The bipartisan immigration bill I authored had $40 billion for border security,” he boasted.
At a press conference Thursday, Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared,
“The Democrats have taken full responsibility for securing our borders. We know that is a responsibility that we have.”
The pro-war, anti-immigrant Democratic Party will do nothing to stop the establishment of military prison camps and the imposition of police state conditions in the US. That task falls to the working class, which must mobilize to demand the abolition of ICE and CBP, the liberation of all imprisoned immigrants, and the right of all workers to live and work with full citizenship rights in the country of their choice.

viernes, 15 de junio de 2018

Documents Show Private Intelligence Web Behind Global Surveillance Program

Internal documents exclusively obtained by the Grayzone Project (and embedded after this article) show how Cambridge Analytica’s UK-based parent company, SCL group, conducted a surveillance operation in Yemen called Project Titania. The initiative relied on psychological profiling, “strategic communications campaigns,” and infiltration of foreign operatives into indigenous communities through unwitting local partners whom they were instructed to deceive.
According to the materials detailed here, Project Titania was to be implemented by SCL “on behalf of Archimedes.” Archimedes is a US-based private contractor that advertises its ability to provide “Systems Integration, Engineering, and Mission Support solutions to government and businesses worldwide.”
The partnership between SCL and Archimedes highlights the seamless web of relationships between private intelligence firms and Western governments engaged in counter-intelligence activities in the Middle East. These large scale surveillance operations have been conducted without the knowledge of the Western public or input from elected officials, and would have remained mostly unknown had a series of leaks and hacking operations not placed them in the public domain.
Communications obtained legally by the Grayzone Project indicated that a former Archimedes staffer named Tim Riesen was a key contact for the Yemen operation. Little information is publicly available about Riesen; he is currently the the CEO of an international corporate consultancy firm called Madison Springfield, Inc.
While he is also listed as an adjunct political science professor at the school of graduate studies at Norwich University, a private military academy in Vermont, published material by Riesen is difficult to find online. Riesen did not respond to an interview request delivered by the Grayzone Project to his email at Madison Springfield.
One of Riesen’s few public appearances consists of a brief cameo in a 2011 video by AFRICOM, the US military command center that operates in 53 African countries. In the video below, an AFRICOM staffer describes a briefing Riesen delivered on the demographics and political tendencies of South Sudan ahead of its independence referendum that year.
Despite his negligible online footprint, or perhaps because of it, Riesen has made himself a considerable player in the world of private intelligence. That is clear from the tranche of emails that surfaced when the private intel firm HBGary was hacked in 2010 by the Anonymous collective.
The HBGary hacks were first reported by journalist Barrett Brown, who was prosecuted by Obama’s Department of Justice and sentenced to five years in prison for publicizing the emails. When their contents were published in full at Wikileaks, HBGary and consortium of intelligence firms were exposed for planning to carry out a full-scale attack on American social justice activists and journalists.
The firms homed in on journalist Glenn Greenwald and Wikileaks, plotting to undermine both through a campaign of “disinformation,” spawning internal rifts and “creating messages around actions to sabotage or discredit the opposing organization.” HBGary was also considered by the US Chamber of Commerce to launch a smear campaign against its critics.
In a separate initiative, HBGary aimed to develop a “persona management” system for the US Air Force that enabled users to spam social media with replies from users with false but detailed personas that gave the impression of organic consensus. The project outlined in the emails closely resembles the kind of troll and bot farms that have gained infamy amid America’s furor over Russian meddling, however, this one was made in the USA.
According to Barrett Brown, the contract for the system was ultimately won by a subsidiary of Cubic, a major multi-national arms, combat training company, and infrastructure company.     
Archimedes and the ROMAS/COIN mass surveillance plan
Though the HBGary emails generated a brief flurry of media interest, little attention was devoted to one of the most disturbing programs they exposed. In a series of communications between intelligence firm directors, an operation came to light that Brown described as “a secretive and immensely sophisticated campaign of mass surveillance and data mining against the Arab world, allowing the intelligence community to monitor the habits, conversations, and activity of millions of individuals at once.”
That plan was Romas/COIN, with “COIN” referring to counter-intelligence — the same acronym used in the FBI’s notorious COINTELPRO program. Riesen’s Archimedes was a key player in the development of the initiative.
According to details of the program gathered by Brown and a collection of online researchers, Apple was also an active team partner, communicating regularly with HBGary CEO Aaron Barr and his peers. In one email, Apple’s “Homeland Defense Manager” Andy Kemp rescheduled a meeting with Barr by explaining,
“I’ve been requested to be [in] phoenix by a senior member at ODNI [the Office of the Director of National Intelligence] – someone That I don’t say no to.”
Romas/COIN focused heavily on mobile phone software and applications. Its designers aimed to develop specialized “social media monitoring tools” and linguistic analysis systems, presumably to surveil the communications of younger, activist-minded Arabs on platforms like Facebook.
To emphasize the Arab-centric nature of Romas/COIN, Chris Clair of the intelligence firm TASC proposed a bold name to his colleagues:
“Can we name COIN Saif? Saif is the sword an Arab executioner uses when they decapitate criminals. I can think of a few cool brands for this.”
In the end, the private spies agreed to call their program “ROMAS.”
“ROMAS is the name of a middle eastern spider. 😉 I thought I was pretty clever,” HBGary’s Barr wrote. “I am glad they are going to continue to use the name.”
Riesen appears in several emails with Clair, Barr, and a handful of partners pursuing what he called a “potential collaboration opportunity.” He described his company, Archimedes, and Barr’s HBGary, as subcontractors to Clair’s TASC on the project.
Together, they brainstormed a plan to compete with the contractor Northrup Grumman for a lucrative contract from an unnamed US government client seeking advanced capabilities in surveillance and “IO” — the acronym for influence operations.
On July 23, 2010, the ROMAS/COIN team decided on an informal setting to brainstorm their proposal.
“And we are on Thursday,” Clair informed Riesen. I’ll have the steaks ready to grill and the beer will be chilled. I am sure it will be loads of fun.”
Massive State Department contracts to SCL for covert propaganda
In a recent exchange at the US State Department, spokesperson Heather Nauert confirmed that the US government had provided SCL with lucrative contracts to advance its propaganda goals on the international stage. Nauert acknowledged that in late 2016, the US State Department’s Global Engagement Center was granted a $120 million budget to wage war on online ISIS recruitment and Russian “disinformation.”
The counter-propaganda initiative promptly doled out two contracts, totaling $496,232, to SCL in February and March of 2017 to carry out “target audience research.” According to Nauert, the contracts to SCL were aimed at supplementing US anti-ISIS operations in the Middle East.
Before folding into Emerdata, SCL removed endorsements from NATO and the State Department from its website (image from NBC News)
The Global Engagement Center is an international influence operation run out of heart of the State Department. Originally formed as the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, and with a mission initially focused on fighting ISIS-oriented propaganda, the operation shifted its focus — and massively expanded its budget — as soon as the national panic over Russian meddling erupted during the 2016 election.
According to Richard Stengel, the center’s former director,
“we supported credible counter-Russian voices in the region. We pretty much stopped creating content ourselves.”
Which voices Stengel was referring to remains unclear, but as the former managing editor of Time Magazine, his remarks raised questions about whether the US government was covertly paying or promoting journalists to advance its agenda in Eastern Europe.
At a Council on Foreign Relations forum on “fake news” this May, Stengel made an unusually candid disclosure.
“My old job at the State Department was what people used to jokingly [call] the chief propagandist job,” he declared. “I’m not against propaganda, every country does it and they have to do it to their own population and I don’t necessarily think it’s that awful.”
At a Council on Foreign Relations forum about "fake news," former Editor at Time Magazine Richard Stengel directly states that he supports the use of propaganda on American citizens - then shuts the session down when challenged about how propaganda is used against the third world
Rebranding a toxic name
Just weeks after the collapse of Cambridge Analytica and SCL, the firm’s principals, including Rebekah Mercer, magically resurfaced as directors of a newly minted, London-based company called Emerdata that appears to differ from SCL in name only. In fact, the firm is even headquartered at the same office formerly occupied by SCL Elections.
The brazen rebranding of SCL/Cambridge Analytica might be disturbing, but these firms are only part of a much wider web of private intelligence firms determined to manipulate the behavior of the public for the benefit of powerful clients. And before these cynical operators applied their methods in Western elections, they tested them on populations in conflict zones like Yemen.
Back in 2011, when he exposed the Romas/COIN mass surveillance program, Barrett Brown warned of the coming blowback for the West.  

“It is inevitable, then, that such capabilities as form the backbone of Romas/COIN…will be deployed against a growing segment of the world’s population,” Brown wrote. “The powerful institutions that wield them will grow all the more powerful as they are provided better and better methods by which to monitor, deceive, and manipulate. The informed electorate upon which liberty depends will be increasingly misinformed. No tactical advantage conferred by the use of these programs can outweigh the damage that will be done to mankind in the process of creating them.” 

viernes, 25 de mayo de 2018

Political Reprisals Denounce The Spanish State In The European Parliament (video)

Source - REPRESALIADOS POLÍTICOS DENUNCIAN AL ESTADO ESPAÑOL EN EL PARLAMENTO EUROPEO (VÍDEO) — Canarias-semanal.org 25.5.2018

The difficulties of the Spanish State institutions to justify their repressive escalation abroad are increasing.

The complaints due to trials against Journalists, singers, separatist, communists or simple twitterers has arrived to the point that some of them have managed to get their voice heard in the European Parliament itself.

During the last Thursday morning, the rapper Pablo Hasel, the members of La Insurgencia and Resistencia Film or the journalist of La Haine and Kaosenlared Boro LH participated in a conference on the attacks on freedom of expression and press in Brussels by the Green Group .

In their appearances, the reprisals denounced the political nature of the processes opened against them.

The attached video shows on these lines the moment in which Boro LH breaks a picture of Franco, Kings Juan Carlos and King Felipe VI. "Franco I, Franco II and Franco III", the journalist pointed out to make this symbolic act in defense of freedom, for which other young people in the Spanish State were also prosecuted.

After the conference, Boro LH and Pablo Hasel shared in the social networks a picture and a message in which they glimpsed a justified skepticism about what can be expected from the institutions of the EU imperialist project, while appreciating the importance of having been able to count on an international showcase to spread his complaint

"Agur Brussels !! Not much is known, but at least they heard us #EuropaNosVaAOir - in Brussels Airport".

lunes, 21 de mayo de 2018

The US is Definitely Meddling in the Venezuelan Election

The US is Definitely Meddling in the Venezuelan Election


As Venezuelans go to the polls Sunday, the U.S. is working to disrupt the re-election of Nicolas Maduro and rollback left-wing governments in the region.
(CN Op-ed) — Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is the frontrunner in the presidential elections that will take place on Sunday. If past pronouncements and practice by the United States are any indication, every effort will be made to oust an avowed socialist from the the U.S. “backyard.”
This week, the leftist president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, tweeted: “Before the elections they (U.S. and allies) will carry out violent actions supported by the media and after the elections they will try a military invasion with Armed Forces from neighboring countries.”
U.S. antipathy towards the Venezuelan government started with the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998, followed by a brief and unsuccessful U.S.-backed coup in 2002. Chávez made the magnanimous, but politically imprudent, gesture of pardoning the golpistas, who are still trying to achieve by extra-parliamentary means what they have been unable to realize democratically. After Chávez died in 2013, the Venezuelans elected Maduro to carry on what has become known as the Bolivarian Revolution.
The Phantom Menace
In 2015 then U.S. President Barack Obama declared “a national emergency” because of a supposed Venezuelan threat to the U.S. The U.S. has military bases to the west of Venezuela in Colombia and to the east in the Dutch colonial islands. The Fourth Fleet patrols Venezuela’s Caribbean coast. Yet somehow in the twisted logic of imperialism, the phantom of Venezuela posed a menacing, “extraordinary threat” to the U.S.
Each year Obama renewed and deepened sanctions against Venezuela under the National Emergencies Act. Taking no chances that his successor might not be sufficiently hostile to Venezuela, Obama prematurely renewed the sanctions his last year in office even though the sanctions would not have expired until two months into Trump’s tenure.
The fear was that presumptive U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson might try to normalize U.S. -Venezuelan relations to negotiate an oil deal between Venezuela and his former employer Exxon. As it turns out, the Democrats need not have feared Trump going soft on regime change.
Last August, Donald Trump publicly raised the “military option” to overthrow Venezuela’s democratically-elected government. Then David Smilde of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) counseled for regime change, not by military means, but by “deepening the current sanctions” to “save Venezuela.” The somewhat liberal, inside-the-beltway NGO argued against a direct military invasion because the Venezuelan military would resist, not because such an act is the gravest violation of international law.
Meanwhile the sanctions have taken a punishing toll on the Venezuelan people, even causing death. Sanctions are designed, in Richard Nixon’s blood-curdling words, to “make the economy scream” so that the people will abandon their democratically elected government for one vetted by the U.S.

In January, Trump’s first State of the Union address called for regime change of leftist governments in Latin America, boasting, “My government has imposed harsh sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships of Cuba and Venezuela.” Hearing these stirring words, both Democrats and Republicans burst out in thunderous applause.
“Dictatorships,” as the term is wielded by the U.S. government and mainstream media, should be understood as countries that try to govern in the interests of their own peoples rather than privileging the dictates of the U.S. State Department and the prerogatives of international capital.
Attack of the Clones
In addition to summoning Venezuela’s sycophantic domestic opposition, who support sanctions against their own people, the U.S. has gone on the offensive using the regional Lima Group to destabilize Venezuela. The group was established last August in Lima, the capital of Peru, as a block to oppose Venezuela.
The eighth Summit of the Americas was held in Lima in April under the lofty slogan of “democratic governance against corruption.” Unfortunately for the imperialists, the president of the host country was unable to greet the other U.S. clones. A few days earlier he had been forced to resign because of corruption. Venezuelan President Maduro was barred from attending.
Along with Peru and the U.S. ’ ever faithful junior partner Canada, other members of the Lima Group are:
  • Mexico, a prime participant of the U.S. -sponsored War on Drugs, is plagued with drug cartel violence. The frontrunner for the July presidential election is left-of-center Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who is widely believed to have won the last two elections only to have them stolen from him.
  • Panama’s government is a direct descendent of the one installed on a U.S. warship when the U.S. invaded Panama in 1989. Recall the triggering incident that unleashed U.S. bombs and 26,000 troops into Panama against a defense force of 3,000: a GI in civilian clothes was fatally shot running a military checkpoint and another GI and his wife were assaulted. What similarly grave affront to the global hegemon might precipitate a comparable military response for Venezuela? Panama imposed sanctions against Venezuela in a spat in April, accusing Venezuela of money laundering. Panama is a regional money laundering center for the illicit drug trade (some alleged through a Trump-owned hotel).

  • Argentina elected Mauricio Macri president in 2015. He immediately sold the country out to the vulture funds and the IMF while imposing severe austerity measures on working people. The economy has tanked, reversing the gains of the previous left-leaning presidencies of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández. Military and diplomatic deference to the U.S. has become the order of the day. Macri has negotiated installation of two U.S. military bases in Argentina, first with Obama and now with Trump.

  • Brazil deposed its left-leaning, democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff in a 2016 parliamentary coup. Her successor, the unelected Michel Temer, has imposed austerity measures and cooperated with the U.S. in joint military exercises along the Brazilian border with Venezuela. Temer suffers from single digit popularity ratings and is barred from running for public office due to a corruption conviction. Former left-leaning president “Lula” da Silva is the frontrunner in October’s presidential election but was imprisoned in April by Temer’s government.

  • Chile was the victim of the U.S. -backed coup, which overthrew the elected left-leaning government of Salvador Allende in 1973. A reign of terror followed with the extreme rightwing government of Gen. Augusto Pinochet killing thousands. An economic and diplomatic destabilization campaign coordinated by Washington set the stage for the coup. The Chilean regime-change scenario could be the model for Venezuela. The rightwing opposition in Venezuela torched a maternity hospital with mothers and babies inside and even poured gasoline on suspected Chávez supporters, burning them alive.

  • Colombia is the U.S. ’ closest ally in the region, the recipient of the most U.S. military aid, and the source of the greatest amount of illicit drugs afflicting the U.S. . The Colombian government has flaunted its recent peace accords with the FARC and continues to be a world leader with 7 million internally displaced persons and political assassinations of trade union leaders, human rights workers, and journalists. In cooperation with the U.S. , Colombia has been provocatively massing troops along its border with Venezuela.

  • Costa Rica is a neoliberal state that has been a staunch silent partner of U.S. imperialism ever since it served as a base for the Contra war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua.

  • Guatemala is a major source of undocumented immigrants fleeing violence into the relative safety of the U.S. . Femicide is rampant as is criminal impunity, all legacies of the U.S. -backed dirty war of genocide from the 1960s through the ‘80s, which claimed some 200,000 Mayan lives.

  • Honduras’ left-leaning President Zelaya was deposed in a U.S. -backed coup in 2009. In the aftermath of rightwing repression and domestic violence, Honduras earned the title of murder capital of the world. The current rightwing president was reelected last November in an election so blatantly fraudulent that even the Organization of American States (OAS) failed to endorse the results.

  • Paraguay is the site of the first of the rightwing parliamentary coups in the region when left-leaning President Fernando Lugo was deposed in 2012.

Such is the nature of the right-wing states allied against Venezuela in contemporary Latin America. Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of this right tide is the willingness of Brazil and Argentina to allow U.S. military installations in their border areas as well as conducting joint U.S. -led military exercises with contingents from Panama, Colombia and other countries.
Cuba, Bolivia, and Nicaragua are Venezuela’s few remaining regional allies, all of which have been subject to U.S. -backed regime-change schemes. Most recently, the Nicaraguan government undertook modest measures to increase workers’ and employers’ contributions but lower benefits. It led to violent demonstrations. Some sources hostile to the Ortega government labelled the protests as “made in the U.S. A.” In the face of such protests, the government rescinded the changes on April 23.
The Empire Strikes Back
In early April, the U.S. Southern Command conducted a series of military exercises, dubbed “Fused Response,” just 10 miles off the Venezuelan coast, simulating an invasion.
Later that month, Juan Cruz, Special Assistant to President Trump and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs, was asked whether the U.S. government supports a military coup in Venezuela. Speaking for the White House and dripping with imperial arrogance, he responded affirmatively:
“If you look at the history of Venezuela, there’s never been a seminal movement in Venezuela’s history, politics, that did not involve the military. And so it would be naïve for us to think that a solution in Venezuela wouldn’t in some fashion include a very strong nod – at a minimum – strong nod from the military, a whisper in the ear, a coaxing or a nudging, or something a lot stronger than that.”
Across the Atlantic on May 3, the European Parliament demanded Venezuela suspend presidential elections. Four days later, U.S. Vice President Pence called on the OAS to expel Venezuela. Adding injury to insult, the U.S. announced yet another round of sanctions. Then the next day, U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley joined the chorus calling on President Maduro to cancel the presidential election and resign.

Far more blatant and frightening is the Plan to Overthrow the Venezuelan Dictatorship – Masterstroke, dated February 23, 2018.Masterstroke was leaked on the website Voltairenet.org and picked up by Stella Calloni in the reliable and respected Resumen Latinoamericano. Although Masterstroke is unverified, the contents as reported by Calloni are entirely consistent with U.S. policy and pronouncements:
“The document signed by the head of the U.S. Southern Command demands making the Maduro government unsustainable by forcing him to give up, negotiate or escape. This Plan to end in very short terms the so-called ‘dictatorship’ of Venezuela calls for, ‘Increase internal instability to critical levels, intensifying the decapitalization of the country, the escape of foreign capital and the deterioration of the national currency, through the application of new inflationary measures that increase this deterioration.’”
That is, blame the Venezuelan government for the conditions imposed upon it by its enemies.
Masterstroke calls for, “Continuing to harden the condition within the (Venezuelan) Armed Forces to carry out a coup d’état, before the end of 2018, if this crisis does not cause the dictatorship to collapse or if the dictator (Maduro) does not decide to step aside.”
Failing an internal coup, Masterstroke plans an international military invasion: “Uniting Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Panama to contribute a good number of troops, make use of their geographic proximity…”
A New Hope
With the urging of the Pope and under the auspices of the government of the Dominican Republic, the Maduro government and elements of the opposition agreed to sit down to negotiate last January in the hopes of ending the cycle of violence and the deterioration of living conditions in Venezuela.
By early February they had come to a tentative agreement to hold elections. The Maduro government initially opposed a UN election observation team as a violation of national sovereignty, but then accepted it as a concession to the opposition. The opposition in turn would work to end the unilateral sanctions by the U.S. , Canada, and the EU, which are so severely crippling the daily life of ordinary Venezuelans. Two years of adroit diplomacy by the Maduro government with the less extreme elements of the opposition were bearing fruit.
The agreement had been crafted and a meeting was called for the government and the opposition to sign on. The government came to the final meeting, but not the opposition. The opposition as good clones of Washington had gotten a call from their handlers to bail.
In a damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t scenario, the U.S. first accused Venezuela of not scheduling presidential elections. Then elections were scheduled, but too early for the U.S. . Then the date of the elections was moved to April and then extended to May. No matter what, the U.S. would not abide by any elections in Venezuela.Ipso factoelections are considered fraudulent by U.S. if the people might vote for the wrong candidate.
Mesa de la Unidad Democrática(MUD), the coalition of Venezuelan opposition groups allied with and partially funded by the U.S., are accordingly boycotting Sunday’s election and are putting pressure on Henri Falcón to withdraw his candidacy. Falcón is Maduro’s main competition in the election. MUD has already concluded that the election is fraudulent and are doing all they can to discourage voting.
CNBC, reflecting the Washington consensus, expects the U.S. to directly target the Venezuelan oil industry immediately after the election in what they describe as “a huge sucker punch to Maduro’s socialist administration, which is depending almost entirely on crude sales to try and decelerate a deepening economic crisis.”
Ever hopeful and always militant, Maduro launched the new Petro cryptocurrency and revalued the country’s traditional currency, the Bolivar, in March. The Petro is collateralized on Venezuela’s vast mineral resources: the largest petroleum reserves in the world and large reserves of gold and other precious metals. The U.S. immediately accused Venezuela of sinisterly trying to circumvent the sanctions…which is precisely the intent of the Petro and other economic reforms, some of which are promised for after the presidential election.
The Force Awakens
Latin America has been considered the U.S. empire’s proprietary backyard since the proclamation of the Monroe Document in 1823, reaffirmed by John F. Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress in 1961, and asserted by today’s open military posturing by President Trump.
The so-called Pink Tide of left-leaning governments spearheaded by Venezuela in the early part of this century served as a counter-hegemonic force. By any objective estimation that force has been ebbing but can awaken.
Before Chávez, all of Latin America suffered under neoliberal regimes except Cuba. If Maduro is overthrown, a major obstacle to re-establishing this hemispheric wide neoliberalism would be gone.
The future of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution is pivotal to the future of the counter-hegemonic project, which is why it is the empire’s prime target in the Western Hemisphere. If the Venezuelan government falls, all Latin American progressive movements could suffer immensely: AMLO’s campaign in Mexico, the resistance in Honduras and Argentina, maybe the complete end of the peace accords in Colombia, a left alternative to Lenin Moreno in Ecuador, the Sandinista social programs in Nicaragua, the struggle for Lula’s presidency in Brazil, and even Morales and the indigenous movements in Bolivia.

As U.S. National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger said in 1970: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”
Op-ed by Roger D. Harris / Republished with permission / Consortium News / Report a typo